This article considers the approach for determining whether a dispute concerns the “interpretation or application” of a particular treaty, such that it is within the subject-matter jurisdiction of an international court or tribunal. Specifically, the article considers what approach should be taken when claims are presented as concerning the “interpretation or application” of a particular treaty, but involve central issues under rules of international law found outside the treaty in question. The specific argument made in this article is that the approach used in some recent decisions, involving characterising where the “relative weight” of a dispute lies and the “true object” of claims, should not be followed.
The multilateral expression of the desire to reform investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) obscures the diverging preferences states have in respect of which future dispute settlement model to adopt. In order to garner broad acceptability, this article proposes that the reformed system could be designed as “dispute settlement à la carte”, with a Multilateral Investment Court coexisting with other forms of dispute resolution under the umbrella of one multilateral institution. With a view to showing that such a system is feasible, this article draws on comparative institutional design analysis, that is, a comparative assessment of dispute settlement design features across different international dispute settlement systems. This approach helps to explore what institutional design features are a useful source of inspiration for a future investment dispute settlement system that preserves flexibility for states in the choice of their preferred means of adjudication, while safeguarding legal certainty and promoting coherence in investment dispute settlement.
With the anarchic multiplication of international courts and tribunals, and the concomitant possibility for jurisdictional and decisional conflicts among them to occur, treating the International Court of Justice as the “invisible” international supreme court seems an attractive solution. After all, it is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations and the only court with universal general jurisdiction. Revisiting this proposal, the article argues that the World Court suffers not only from political (extrinsic) constraints, but also from institutional (intrinsic) limitations, thereby endangering its sociological and normative legitimacy. Nonetheless, this does not mean rectifying them for the purpose of enabling it to discharge its envisioned role as the international supreme court. Rather the problem is not so much improving the World Court, but understanding the merits of maintaining the status quo, that is, a decentralised judiciary.
This submission challenges the presumption that uk nationals will lose eu citizenship following Brexit. Until now, the dominant narrative has been drawn from the law on treaties or international organizations, and this article adds the human rights perspective to Brexit. Firstly, eu citizenship can be assimilated to nationality. While eu citizenship is unique, the status protected under international law is a legal bond a person has with a political entity. This protection certainly covers nationality, and this paper argues it can be understood to also protect eu citizenship. Secondly, international law prohibits arbitrary withdrawal of this legal bond with a person. The uk does not have jurisdiction over eu citizenship, so it is doubtful the uk can terminate eu citizenship unilaterally. Even if the eu were to withdraw eu citizenship on its initiative, it would still constitute retroactive law, discrimination, and infringement of sovereignty. It is also disproportionate, because the loss of eu citizenship is not necessary for Brexit. When Greenland withdrew from the eu, its residents retained eu citizenship. For these reasons, the revocation of eu citizenship would be arbitrary. A distinction must be made between the membership of a state in the eu which can be terminated, and the direct legal bond formed between a person and the Union, which is far harder to revoke. On this basis, any uk national who has acquired eu citizenship prior to Brexit, should not be divested of it following Brexit.
The question of how disputes arising from Brexit are to be resolved, and by which body, is one of the most sensitive issues in the negotiations on the uk’s withdrawal from the European Union and the envisaged future relationship between the uk and the eu. The legal issues related to withdrawal are further magnified in complexity due to the nature of the eu itself, which does not neatly fit into the category of a traditional international organization. The uk has repeatedly stated that it will not accept the continued role of the eu Court of Justice in the uk legal system after withdrawal. Any dispute settlement system must also respect the constitutional requirements of the eu legal order, most notably, by not infringing on the autonomy of eu law. This article discusses some of the various models from international dispute settlement that could be used to inspire a dispute settlement system in the Brexit context. It discusses dispute settlement in the withdrawal agreement and the role of the Court of Justice during and after a transition period. It then discusses the challenges of designing a dispute settlement system for the future relationship agreement. While aspects of these various models could be replicated, there is no dispute settlement system that is fully appropriate to deal with the various complexities and challenges of Brexit. The paper proposes the establishment of a standing international tribunal to resolve disputes arising from Brexit.